Make skype calls from your nokia mobile

Yesterday I discovered “Fring“. It’s an application that you install on your symbian powered mobile phone that allows you to make Skypeand Google talk calls over the GPRS, 3G & (if your phone supports it) Wi-Fi Networks.

Most nokia handsets run on the Symbian operating system, according to the Fring website you can download the application for the Nokia: 6630, 6680, 6681, 6682, N70, N72, N80, N90, N71, N73, N75, N91, N92, N93, E60, E61 & E70.

I gave fring it’s first proper test on my N70 this afternoon over Vodafone’s 3G network; I’m pleased to say it seemed to work. I could hear the person at the other end very well indeed although my voice was apparently a bit distorted (high pitched) and there was a bit of “satellite delay”.

If you have a skype account and a nokia mobile I’d reccomend giving Fring a try, espesially if your phone has Wi-fi. Fring was OK over the 3G network, but because I have free anytime minutes I don’t think that it would save me any money, unless I was talking to someone abroad.

I’m a beta male!

I’ve been accepted as a beta tester for a new version of a programme I use everyday (very exciting ;¬) ). I can’t tell you which product it is because I’m sworn to secrecy (I’m not even allowed to let anyone know about the existence of this update ), I’d quite like to get on to future beta programmes for this company so I don’t want to hack them off.

I’ve installed it on my laptop – but only had chance for a cursory glance before having to leave for work. I’ve installed it on my PC and mac mini at work; I’m quite looking forward to using it on the mac as I’ve only ever used the mac for browser testing up to now.

There are some good new features in here that my fellow designer / developers will find very useful. I just wish I could tell you what they are.

Recover lost FTP passwords from dreamweaver

I was looking the stats for this site earlier and saw that someone had come here having searched for “dreamweaver 8 ftp password registry”.

I can’t be certain, but I suspect who ever it was had lost or forgotten their FTP password and was hoping to recover it from Dreamweaver. I was in the same position a couple of months back and found this online Dreamweaver Password Recovery tool. It’s very easy to use, full instructions are on the site.

Microsoft launch Photosynth

photosynth logoMicrosoft have just launched Photosynth an amazing new website with software that “takes a large collection of photos of a place or an object, analyzes them for similarities, and displays them in a reconstructed three-dimensional space.”

With Photosynth you can:

  • Walk or fly through a scene to see photos from any angle.
  • Seamlessly zoom in or out of a photo whether it’s megapixels or gigapixels in size.
  • See where pictures were taken in relation to one another.
  • Find similar photos to the one you’re currently viewing.
  • Send a collection – or a particular view of one – to a friend.

Photos are organised into collections, which are all taken in the same area. Browsing through the collections is an amazing and engaging experience, it’s an excellent time killer! So far there are only four collections to choose from but no doubt this will soon be added to.

The application only works in IE 6 or 7 which is hardly surprising, not good news for mac users though.

How to create or edit a Firefox quick search

I like the quick search facility in firefox; the dictionary search is particularly useful. by typing “dict search-term” into the address bar you get a dictionary definition.

The definitions used to be provided by dictionary.reference.com but for some reason in the last couple of versions it’s been the Merriam-Webster website. I just don’t think the results are as good. I had a look at the search engines available as firefox add ons but dictionary.reference.com wasn’t there so I set about finding a way to change firefox’s behaviour. Here’s what to do…

  1. Click on “Bookmarks” in Firefox’s menu
  2. Click “Organise Bookmarks…”
  3. Expand the “Quick Searches” folder
  4. Right click on the search you want to change (in this case I changed the dictionary search)
  5. click “Properties”
  6. Change the name of the bookmark to reflect the new site you are going to use
  7. If you want to use dictionary.reference.com for your dictionary search change the location to “http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/%s”
  8. Change the keyword if you want to use something other than “dict” to use this search from the address bar
  9. Change the description to reflect your other changes
  10. Click OK

You can also use this method to create your own quick search for almost any site with a search facility.

  1. Go to the site you want to add and carry out a search using the usual search method.
  2. Copy the URL (including query string) of the search results page. For example here is a search for “test” on theregister.com “http://search.theregister.co.uk/?q=test&mode=site”.
  3. Replace the search term in the query string with “%s”, so for the register we use “http://search.theregister.co.uk/?q=%s&mode=site”.
  4. Click on “Bookmarks” in Firefox’s menu
  5. Click “Organise Bookmarks…”
  6. Expand the “Quick Searches” folder
  7. Right click, choose “New Book mark”
  8. Enter the details for your new search. My Register search looks like this:

Name: El Reg Search Location: http://search.theregister.co.uk/?q=%s&mode=site Keyword: reg Descrition: Search the register, Type “reg ” into the address bar

Dreamweaver 8 losing FTP login settings

Recently I’ve been having a frustrating time using Dreamweaver’s FTP client. For some reason, it kept losing the FTP user name and password whenever I restarted dreamweaver, and it seems I was not alone.

It appears that the problem was caused by a conflict between the version of Dreamweaver I was running and IE7. Downloading the Dreamweaver 8.0.2 updater solved the problem for me. Apparently it can also be cause by a missing registry key,  Adobe have a knowledgebase article on the subject.

Adobe “Fully Loaded” Tour

I’m sitting in the Brighton Odeon Cinema in the “Fully Web” Session of “Fully Loaded” Tour it’s being presented by Steve B(something).

It’s basically Adobe trying to sell their suite of web development products. It’s not really holding my attention. There are two reasons for this: Firstly, all they have covered in any detail so far is Dreamweaverand Fireworks. These are the two tools that I use more than any others, I don’t think I’ve learned anything new. Secondly while the presenter may know the Adobe products inside out (and to be honest I’m not sure he does) his grasp of CSS and “hayche-tee-em-el” and frankly scary.
He must have said three or four times:

There are two main types of container in CSS, IDs and CSS

The implication being that the containing block (eg the html div) is the ID or Class, he never mentioned xhtml once. There where a few other “WTF?” moments I can’t think of any of hand

The second session

We’re in the second session now which is on Flash. He’s already said “in fact Flash is more accessible the HTML, if anyone disagrees I’ll prove them wrong”!
OK this is a bit better, I’ve just learned a couple of useful things. First of the “Ease” tool looks quite useful for changing the properties of objects on the stage. Also, the “zoomify” tool for flash looks quite interesting.

In the Q & A Session, people didn’t seem that interested in asking questions. I think most of had switched off by that point. I asked what the future was for Dreamweaver, how they are going to compete with Microsoft Expression. He said he couldn’t really comment but to look at labs.adobe.com so I’ll be doing that later.
All in all, this was not the best event I’ve been to, the freebies are not up to the standard I’ve come to expect. I used to rely on Macromedia events to provide me with all my note pads and pens, all I got this time was a lousy brochure.

Life is about to get a lot more complicated

Or easier, I’m not sure which!

 IE7 is due to be released this month. Initially it’ll be available via optional download from the MS website but they are going to push it out through windows update which means that take up is likely to be very quick.

I’m not sure if it’s going to break too many of my sites, I haven’t really had chance to check, but I think I should start checking in earnest.

From a user’s point of view I think Seven is a marked improvement over IE6, I could almost see myself using it as my main browser. I say almost, because I know it won’t be my default browser, I have far too many useful firefox extensions to consider using any other browser.

A whole batch of good new stuff – Part 1: Browsers

I spend an awful lot of time on line so I’m always keen to find ways to make it a more productive and enjoyable time.

In the past few weeks and days there have been some interesting new versions of some of the major web browsers released, I’ve been playing with them to see how they improve on the previous versions.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.

IE 7 Release Candidate 1 is out. This is (probably) the last test version of Microsoft’s new web browser before it is fully released to the public before the end of this year. From a web developers point of view the best thing about Seven is the fact that it’s support for web standards is much better. The CSS support is almost as good as that in Firebox. There are a few things that would have been nice that aren’t there; some of the pseudo elements for example, but the IE team have done a bloody good job.

From a user’s point of view Seven is chock full of goodies! IE finally gets tabbed browsing. I remember when I first used Opera (version 4 I think) being really impressed at how much tidier it was to have all your open pages in one tabbed browser window, instead of having lots of instances of the browser across the desktop.
IE 7 is more secure than it’s predecessors and has a built in phishingfilter. It has a simplified user interface with less frequently used functions moved into sub-menus leaving more screen area for browsing web sites, which is after all what most people want to do with a browser. They’ve also added an RSS feed reader; Chris Wilson, Group Program Manager of the Internet Explorer Platform team at Microsoft said at @media 2006 that this was the feature he was most excited about. Certainly quickly flicking through your RSS feeds is much quicker than re-visiting sites to see if they have any new content of interest, Microsoft clearly that this type of Internet usage will reach mainstream users.

Firefox 2

I really like the Firefox browser, infarct it’s my browser of choice. I only use another browser if I’m testing a site, or I’m on a (badly written) site that refuses to play nice with Firefox. For version 2 (which again is a release candidate at the moment) the firefox team have made a few subtle changes. They’ve tidied up the UI and tweaked things like the “Add-ons manager”. Nice new features include the ability to resume your browsing sessions (so you can pick up where you left off) and enhanced search capabilities. Firefox will suggest search terms as you type when you use the built in search box in conjunction with Google, Yahoo or Ask.

The most important new feature from my point of view is the built in spell checker. Bang goes my last excuse for poor spelling.

One of the nice things about firefox is the vast number of add-ons that can be downloaded to enhance the functionality of the software. For example I use a number of developer tools for firefox to help me in my job. If you have a number of extensions you use already use, you may find that they wont work with version 2. This is simply because extensions are set to work up to a certain version of firefox. This extension allows you make all your extensions think they are compatible with the latest version of Firefox, which is very useful indeed.

Opera 9.02

Those Opera boys are back with another version of their browser and I really like it. Of course it has a tabbed interface, but now you get a little preview screen shot when you hover over a tab which is a really nice touch. There are far too many features to list them all here; new in this release is a bit torrent down loader which I think is a nice touch.

Flock

Like Firefox, Flock uses the Mozilla rendering engine (so it displays pages in more or less the same way). In fact it looks very, very similar to Firefox. Flock tries to position itself as

“an amazing new web browser that makes it easier to share media and connect to other people on line. Share photos, automatically stay up-to-date with new content from your favorite sites, and search the Web with the most advanced Search Toolbar available today.”

it is pretty good. I started using it because it has built in integration with wordpress and flickr. so I can write my blog posts in flock (and spell check them) before uploading them. However, now that firefox has a spell checker this isn’t such a compelling reason to use Flock. I have to admit, I haven’t used flock as much as perhaps I should have. I thought it was a bit of a novelty browser, but on closer inspection it would appear that many of the extensions for Firefox are also available for Flock which makes it a much more interesting proposition.

moblogging…

It would be dead handy if I could post to my blog from a mobile. I rarely find time to right entries for my blog at the moment, being able to post quickly from the phone would be realy nice.

I’ve been playing about over the last day or so with lifeblog from nokia. It’s a programme that ships with nokia smark phones, it allows you to post to typepad blogs (though sadly not wordpress) and upload photos to flickr which is what I’ve used it for.

It would be really nice if there where a wordpress plugin for lifeblog, unfortunately I think it’s probably a bit beyond me to try and create one.

In the meantime, I’ve just found kablog which is another bit of software for symbian, I think I’ll try installing that later.